morosophical beautification


  • Last updated: 2013-02-01
    First posted: 2011-04-09
    A tragicomic moral tale of one woman’s valiant struggles with first-world problems and her moves towards minimalism, environmentalism, and liberation from consumerism. In other words: hippy-dippy tree-hugging granolarama sh*t, occasional arty-farty vapid airy-fairy nonsense musings, sanctimonious pontificating rants, may contain nuts and other irritants, but but BUT: with regular chocolate.

meet a beautiful folly (says over-optimistic gent to beauteous lady)



Morosophical beautification: because morosophy has its beauties too.

This blog started up as an extension to my MakeupAlley Notepad, and as an archive of my stuff over there. The rest of this here sticky post is that notepad. Basically, the “current affairs” of what I’m using currently. This will include metaphorical “life partners” such as oil (of one sort or another); as well as occasional on-off liaisons, extra-marital relations, and light-hearted flirtations (e.g. mascaras). Being pretty vanilla, none of these are very exciting or risqué.

Much of what follows below is over on that MUA notepad, but this stuff here is maintained regularly and is more up-to-date and more accurately represents the reality of everyday Ginger O’Rama beautificatory life. Another reason for maintaining my MUA notepad off-MUA is that updating the MUA one is often glitchy (compatibility issues, long story over many years). That MUA notepad also contains the stuff on this here blog on ethics and this stuff on politics (originally appeared in relation to a MUA board-discussion).


(subject to change etc. etc. etc.) Here are the other main basic foundational posts, at the core of this here present blog:

  1. sensitive skin: a user’s manual
  2. in case of emergency
  3. resources: skin and its sensitivities
  4. Earth Day Special: Gingerrama’s Green-ish Lists (2012)
  5. DIY multi-purpose oil
  6. ersatz (1): hair product find of the millenium
  7. ersatz (2): cleanser
  8. ersatz (3): moisturiser
  9. sunscreens: about and sunscreens: products
  10. and, beyond beautification-products proper:
    Consumer Rights: draft Ten Commandments
    reducing consumption
    cruelty-free resources

See also: dropdown menu of categories and “search” box ( → on larger screens, ↓ on smaller ones).


OK, they’re all relevant and massively important and totally worth reading, and in the drop-down menu, but:

  1. For criteria used to select and buy “better” (including but not only ethically), see: credo & caveats
  2. For some more “what” plus the “how” and “why” of this blog; its description and purpose; my ethical positions & posturings, and some further pontification: raisons d’être


sensitive—(structurally/physically) thin, fragile, delicate, fine (fine-grain, no visible pores)—irritable, reactive (ex. photosensitive), some allergies—on/off eczema—no acne, but subject to irritation breakouts—no wrinkles but gradually acquiring lines of expression: as befits age, experience, and hopefully also wit and wisdom—slightly dry—Baumann type DSNW (for whatever that’s worth). Current condition: good.

below shoulder-length—fine—thick/dense/lots of it—slightly wavy (2a-c depending on time of year, weather conditions, etc.) with curly underside and some frizzy bits—dryish, porous—natural (not dyed or retexturised or otherwise buggered around with using heat, a.k.a. “styled”; left to its own devices to dry naturally)

PPP < NW10—some freckles—some blue-purple shadows in inner eye corners—grey/green eyes—red hair

Otherwise boringly healthy, medium-sized, and in reasonable condition.

Stuff used = a mixture of “greener” and “less green,” primary considerations being that the stuff works and is cruelty-free. If there’s a more ethical version, within reason (i.e. not at an insane price), I’ll give it preference.

I don’t use any of the following, due to incompatibility with sensitive etc. skin:
—scrubs, Clarisonic, Pretika, Mia, other physical exfoliants: hands & facecloth is as much as my skin can take;
—AHA (except a very mild version of lactic acid, in the form of yoghurt), BHA (except salicylic acid if I get a zit; not happened in a long time though), and basically generally chemical exfoliants and peels;
—retinaldehyde: though skin can handle the small amounts of low-dose weaker less usable retinol in rosehip seed oil;
—and a bunch of known irritants / reaction-triggers, compiled over the years: c/o doctors, plus trial and error.
My skincare is very very very vanilla. But: it works for my skin; and better boring than exciting, when exciting means reactions, damage, and pain…

I don’t want to call what follows in the main notepad below a routine. Sounds too… rigorous? Regular, regulated, religious, repressive? Worrying, given the proximity between “regimen” and “régime”? Quite aside from any absolutist, tyrannical, or cultish associations: the implications of organization and discipline—be that imposed by external authority or self-discipline—would be very misleading. The notepad-stuff doesn’t always happen, doesn’t always happen in that order, and can take any length of time from 10 minutes to a good hour or so. Bearing in mind the sleep factor, as well as caffeination and chocolate-hunting urges and emergencies.

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  • Vitamin D: 2 x 1000 IU tablets = 25 mcg vitamin D3–cholecalciferol–vegetarian, from lanolin c/o sheep wool; any brand
  • + Vitamin C: Ester-C 600 mg veg caps = 600 mg calcium ascorbate + 100 mg citrus bioflavenoids–vegan; Solgar or Sisu
  • taken with coffeeeeeee a nice cup of tea and a sit down, first thing in the morning; weaning self off coffee (with frequent lapses), now drinking nice green or white tea.There are many excellent ones available here in Vancouver: while supermarkets and corner-shops and so on sell great stuff, I do very much like these purveyors for their stylishness, though: Bayswater, David’s, and Teaz Tea.  OK, I do still often drink coffee in the morning. I’m trying, though…
  • + food (repeated as needed throughout day)
  • teeth: Jason PowerSmile toothpaste (mint flavour, with fluoride, no SLS) + Preserve (Whole Foods) toothbrush: partly recycled, recyclable, and cruelty-free manufacturer
  • household cleaning stuff: dish-washing liquid, laundry detergent, cleaning stuff: usually unscented (I’ll use scented kitchen stuff + gloves), sensitive-skin-friendly, no SLS (eczema: SLES fine thought), biodegradable, cruelty-free. Enzyme-free laundry detergents, for most fabrics (plus some hydrogen bleach where appropriate). AspenClean, Bio-Vert (Canadian), Ecover, NatureClean (Canadian), Seventh Generation. Some DIY stuff too (baking soda, vinegar). No enzymes in laundry detergent. Cool to cold washes where/when possible.


Zazubean Nakid 73% chocolate with cocoa nibs.
Beans from the Dominican Republic and Ecuador.
Organic & fair-trade.
Swiss manufacture.
Local company (go Van!).


And there’s links to chocolate-based recipes along the way; images of said chocolate-based delights feature along the way.

and everything else that’s above nipple-level


This usually takes about 15-25 minutes, depending on how asleep I am and how long is spent under a shower in an attempt to wake up. And depending on whether or not hair is washed; that adds another few minutes. Turning water off while conditioner soaks in and so on (unless still half-asleep: ethics wake up with rest of thinking-parts-of-brain, not yet a conditioned reflex). “Face” here includes neck, throat, décolleté, ears, tops of shoulders. Shorthand for “those parts of me that face the world, are located above the boobs, but do not necessarily include the eyes”; The Bosom and The Gaze also having somewhat different/differentiated, shall we say, outlooks and being-looked-upon rôles to play.


  • using soft (or, elsewhere, softened) tepid water, body temperature or slightly cooler
  • face-cloths a.k.a. washcloths, cleansing cloths, (UK) flannels: made out of thin cotton towelling, square, around 20 cm x 20 cm, cheap, plentiful, most of my collection is now also elderly and grubby. I use one every day or two, chucking them all in the wash at the end of the week. Bought from various places over the last 20 years or so. Use: thorough but gentle cleansing, mild exfoliation. If you want more, apply more pressure, speed, roughness…
  • reusable cotton pads: made from recycled flannel sheets or pyjamas, purchased on Etsy; I made my own before, but badly, so they disintegrated in the wash. Easy to make yourself so long as you have a sewing-machine and do the edges really well. I use a fresh one every time (usually eye makeup removal); like the face-cloths, they all go in the wash every week. I also have some made of bamboo which are also good.
  • towels: cotton towelling, and as with face-cloths, various sources. Some are even—how bleeding-heart granola can you get—made from sustainable organic cotton. Allegedly. Others were donated by or long-term-borrowed from parental units, former flat-mates, and other associates in previous existences. In short: I don’t know where most of our towels come from, and I’m not sure I’d want to. But if getting more, we buy cheap AND organic etc. cotton.


Oil precleanse and then a very plain boring unscented moisturising/non-drying liquid or bar. Preference for giant bottles of liquid or bars, for environmentalist reasons; if bars, no coconut, soy, & palm oil in the base (reason: zits) and avoiding soy and palm oil generally anyway (reasons: environmental and human ethics, unless 100% certain of acceptable provenance). See also ersatz (2): cleanser.

  • multi-purpose oil
    = meadowfoam seed oil (Mountain Rose Herbs /

    • application: wet skin, pour a small amount of oil into palm of hand, rub hands together, massage oil around face and neck and bosom (if there’s any excesss, just spread it around), remove with wet face-cloth
    • sometimes this is all I use, if it’s very cold and dry
  • + then (unless very cold and dry) Everyday Shea Unscented Moisturizing Body Wash
    • application: errum, the classic method that man has used since time immemorial: rub between hands to obtain some lather, apply to skin, rub it around gently (mild exfoliation), remove using same wet face-cloth


  • Purpose: soothing skin, adding a hydrating layer before moisturiser (attracting and trapping water under oil), and (in theory—experimenting here) boosting sun protection.
    • Garden of Wisdom Matcha Green Tea Hyaluronic Acid serum
    • application: 2-3 pumps patted onto damp (only very slightly damp) skin and generally moved around to ensure even coverage; sinks in fast and smoothly. I’ll sometimes need to slap on a little water or witch hazel hydrosol after, if skin slurps up all moisture immediately…


    an outrageously bland basic banal oil and/or cream; usually unscented; see also ersatz (3): moisturiser

    • application: on damp skin, small dab, rubbed and warmed-up between fingertips, dotted all over skin—eye area too—pressed on and patted in.
  • if dryer, or dry patches (ex. forehead), and/or very cold dry weather: I’ll either layer something under my moisturiser and/or dot it on top. But just on the dry areas, not necessarily all over; unless I’m dry all over. Then I might also mix the extra thing in with the regular moisturiser.
    • currently: multi-purpose balm (see next item)
    • there’s an escalation of other things used, depending on extent of dryness and whether it’s eczema too: see EXTRA STUFF further down.
    A richer denser moist heavy-duty multi-purpose balm

    • currently: Badger unscented balm in the tin
      = extra-virgin olive oil beeswax
    • or Madre Bees unscented organic lip balm
      = extra-virgin olive oil beeswax + hemp seed oil + vitamin E
    • application: on lips, around the outer corners of the eyes, and any dry patches


  • FACE & EYES 
    a minimalistically beautiful SPF 30+ zinc oxide-only physical sunscreen, unscented, no silicones, no aloe vera, no heavier oils and waxes, light but moist

    • BurnOut Ocean Tested
    • application: to dry skin (wait for moisturiser to sink in, otherwise this stuff is tacky); all over, including the whole eye area, throat, and ears; also often applied all around the eyes after mascara (and tidying up stray bit of mascara on nearby skin), before eye-concealer. Provides a matte surface for makeup. There’s minimal to zero slippage with non-tubing mascaras; with tubing ones, doesn’t seem to matter.
    a moisturising SPF 30+ zinc oxide lip sunscreen, unscented and preferably unflavoured

    • BurnOut in the coconut flavour, being their most minimally-scented (just coconut oil)
    • application: on lips in the usual way; around the eyes, via tapping on with a clean finger-tip and then smoothing


I should explain and apologize that I’m not very good at the whole night-time ritual business. I’m very good at wanting to go from day/clothed/awake/vertical to night/PJs/asleep/horizontal as quickly, efficiently, and lazily as possible. Unfortunately, I am not Wallace and don’t have Grommet and brilliant gadgets to help. Practice makes perfect, though; decades of daily practice have knocked the total time for the whole process down to 2 minutes (I cheat in that garments are flung off and get folded the next day).


    multi-purpose oil

    • using cotton pads: soak pads, hold over closed eyes for 30 seconds, then swipe; this usually removes most stuff
    • sometimes that evening, often the next morning in the shower because yes, I am lazy
    • sometimes used as a pre-cleanse on face & upper body if I’ve reapplied sunscreen during the day, or if skin is being more dry
    witch-hazel hydrosol: Garden of Wisdom or, non-alcoholic version

    • application: via the medium of a cotton pad; after that, pouring a small quantity into palm of one hand, rubbing hands together, and patting over face; all over, eye area too. That mysterious quantity: skin dry afterwards = too little, skin dripping wet = too much. As with water.


  • Garden of Wisdom Matcha Green Tea Hyaluronic Acid serum
    • application: a couple of drops / squirts, all over head and neck.


    • multi-purpose oil
    multi-purpose balm 

    • on lips, around the eyes, and any dry patches

Delia Smith's chocolate mousse

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= nipple-line and below


  • Everyday Shea unscented moisturizing body wash
  • oil (multi-purpose oil in bathroom; olive in kitchen)
  • Allergenics emollient cream
  • multi-purpose balm


  • face-cloths, as before
  • Gillette Venus 3-blade razor: the brand is now cruelty-free, though owned by P&G; that old version of the razor TTBOMK antedates their take-over; all the plastic parts can be recycled, including the head though that means messing about delicately with the actual blades; they, too, can be recycled separately depending on your available facilities


  • a bland boring cleanser: same one as for face
    • applied with hands then massaged around using hands and a facecloth / washcloth / flannel
    • using soft (or, elsewhere, softened) tepid water, body temperature or slightly cooler


  • multi-purpose oil
  • post-shave soother: witch-hazel hydrosol


  • multi-purpose oil
    • application: if less dry: in shower, leave on for about a minute, rinse off
    • if more dry (errm, usually): at end of shower, leave to absorb
  • hands, rest of self under clothes, eczema-prone areas:
    • Allergenics emollient cream
    • multi-purpose balm; if drier or otherwise more needy, something from EXTRA STUFF


  • well, there’s not usually much call for this at this time of year. I slap on some BurnOut Ocean Tested SPF 30+ on any exposed flesh, which usually isn’t much given the “it’s winter for feck’s sake” factor

= Gingerrama’s Deodowich©

  • unscented potassium alum deodorant (a.k.a. mineral salt, crystal rock, liquid crystal)
    • Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal spray
  • + unscented solid deodorant layer
    • Chagrin Valley coconut silk deodorant cream, natural (= no added) scent


  • solid perfume: can’t use alcohol-based scents, rashes ensue
    • usually: Roxana Illuminated Perfume in Hedera Helix
    • sometimes her Green Witch or Q
    • or Pacifica Mediterranean Fig
    • or Diptyque Philosykos
  • or (E)au naturel(le)


Delia Smith's molten chocolate puddings

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As with anything else, using soft (or, elwhere, softened) tepid water, body temperature or slightly cooler. With minimum time spent under the water: better on eczematic skin as well as for the environment.



  • moisturising-but-not-heavy-and-greasifying conditioner
    • Beauty Without Cruelty leave-in conditioner
    • or Beauty Without Cruelty moisturising conditioner
    • application: all over, including scalp and roots as my hair is otherwise more dry and frizzy. I wash and condition my hair at the start of my morning shower, leaving the conditioner on until its end (in between, wash self, oil body, rinse). Often followed by a final cold rinse, when I remember.


  • if leaving hair to air-dry naturally (usually): nothing. My hair’s growing out, and while it’s in its nature to be wavy, the frizz and random pokey strands are taming down on their own now they’re longer again
  • if (and that’s a big if) blow-drying: The Body Shop Brazil Nut Define And No Frizz; usually leaving hair until nearly dry, then rapidly blow-drying the curlier bits.
    This doesn’t happen very often: I’d like to say it’s because I’m such a virtuous energy-saving person sacrificing my frizz-free-ness to the greater good of the planet, but really, it’s just that I can’t be arsed.



  • an old wooden brush with wooden quills (instead of regular bristles); FSC-certified wood, from The Body Shop
    • also on post-wash damp hair, and on dry hair to get out any tenacious tangles ex. if I’ve been walking/running on a windy day
    • I find it’s more massaging to the scalp and tears hair less than other brushes I’ve used in the last few years
  • a cheap styling brush
  • Kent comb: plastic, hand-cut, with fairly wide-spaced largish teeth–about 20 years old, no idea what the model’s actual name/number is; looks like lots of other plastic combs with handles seen in lots of shops
    • used on damp hair after washing

Nigella Lawson's Molten Chocolate Babycakes

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These are either being used currently right now, or are in The Bag and have been used at some point in the past month. First one in the list is current everyday thing at this very moment. Further levels at the end of this post.


All are cruelty-free, vegan, cheap, and made from sustainable materials (bamboo, FSC wood) or recycled and/or recyclable ones (the plastics used)

  • small brushes (intended for eyeshadow, used for concealer): EcoTools
  • kabuki brushes: The Body Shop (short stubby one for mineral makeup + a twist-up blusher brush), EcoTools (travel one in aluminium tube)
  • lash & brush comb: Marks & Spencer, from their mini travel set
  • Tweezerman metal-toothed lash comb (not used with tubing mascara!!!)
  • cotton-wool buds: the ones with paper sticks, organic cotton, recyclable, from Whole Foods


Skin currently in decent shape; but I refuse to leave my burrow and encounter fresh air outside, let alone people, without a minimum coating of mascara. Down to roots of lashes, looking vaguely convincing as though tinted. It’s a little bit like drag, in terms of one’s “normal, natural” outside appearance differing from one’s “true” inner perception of self. The real true me has dark lashes, the incongruous false outer appearance needs tweaking to reflect that, and I simply don’t feel comfortable or myself until the lashes are dark. Can go from alien to human-ish-oid in an easy comfortable 10 minutes (with tea), current record is 4 minutes.

I don’t even wear enough makeup to qualify as following the rules of the appropriate gingery-rose palette on your left…


  • unscented, no clumping or smudging or flaking, in black
    • Reviva Labs 
    • application: a rapid once-over, top and bottom lashes, upper and lower sides; probably more like two coats on upper lashes, but no going back over lashes in another full coat. Smudge-proof, water-resistant enough for everyday purposes, nearly waterproof.


  • skin-coloured
    • Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay concealer in “fair” on eyelids and in the under-eye areas, inner corner next to nose
    • dabbed onto back of hand and applied with clean finger-tip or, if being fancy, with a small brush


  • an everyday rapid Ones’ Lips But Better perfect lippie:
    • Silk Naturals Kisser Slicker in Birthday Suit: possibly-universal YLBB neutral
    • or Silk Naturals Kisser Slicker in Bitten, a vamped up subtle rosy-red tint (if “vamp” and “subtle” aren’t mutually exclusive)


Same as Level One, except:

For tightlining:

  • a golden brown cream/gel eyeliner:
    • Silk Naturals cream liner in Mahogany
    • or Stila Smudge Pot in Bronze
    • applied using a short-handled brush (the whole brush is about the length of my pinkie-finger) that came with Clinique brush-on cream liner; it has a very short firm head—about 3mm long—with quite stiff bristles, straight across; not an angled brush, not a fine-tip liner brush. Suits me best, as I’m short-sighted and applying “blind” (i.e. taking advantage of my naturally superior close-up vision!)


  • Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar in extra light, in the undereye area, as needed


  • Silk Naturals Kisser Slicker in Bitten


Still just basic normal-human-simulacrum drag. The maximum-fifteen-minute version.


  • same as Level Two


  • same as Levels One & Two
  • or a waterproof: Herban Luxe (Etsy)


  • same as Levels One & Two
  • or Laura Mercier Eye Basics in “linen” on eyelids and up to brow bone and Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in #1
    • applied to eyelids & inner corner next to nose with clean finger-tip or, if being fancy, with a small brush; if being less slapdash, will do more of whole eye area, up to brows. It’s a little drying, so I’d usually mix it in with sunscreen. Also a teeny amount down my nose, on chin, and forehead.


  • Silk Naturals perfecting powder (translucent, loose = silk powder + mica + silica microspheres)
    • applied all over with hands à la Clinique-powder-rubdown + a teeny bit applied with a small brush–same kind as used for eye concealer–under the lower lashline: helps prevent mascara smudging, if done before doing eyes
    • using this as full-facial slap if there’s any risk of someone taking photos of me; while my skin is basically in good condition, no visible flaws in normal viewing conditions, bare-faced I end up bizarrely unphotogenic. Somehow, this stuff helps.


  • same as Level Two
  • or Lipstick Queen Medieval
  • vampier: their Saint Rouge (similar shade to Medieval, but more intense)

This lot lives in an appropriate receptacle for shiny things: an old Gift With Purchase space-age silver Clinique makeup bag. The bag also contains backup supplies of everyday stuff: mascara, lip-balm, lipstick. Other levels also exist.


Dennis Cotter's olive oil chocolate mousse

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This last one below isn’t really a recipe, except insofar as it might be a recipe for happiness (and possibly also–or therefore also–an elixir of eternal youth and magic beauty-potion): chocolate. At least 70% cocoa solids. Eat daily. At least once daily.

chocolate stack chocolate stack chocolate stack

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  • eyebright (euphrasia) sterile aqueous solution eye lotion: apply to closed eyes using pads, allowing some of it to go into eyes. Hold pads over eyes for a couple of minutes.


  • apply unscented lip balm or other waxy stuff to inside of nose. A first step of defence against pollen, spores, etc. from invading, sticking to hairs inside nose, and triggering reactions.


  • back to basics, and cleaning self as little as possible, minimal water-contact, much use of oats
  • CLEANSER: oil or emollient cream
  • MOISTURISER: oil or emollient cream
  • SUNSCREEN: Vanicream SPF 60
  • DEODORANT: just zinc oxide baby butt cream
  • HAIR: Free & Clear shampoo & conditioner
  • MAKEUP: level 0 (see further below), just a very reliable plain mascara



Substituting in spring to early summer super-mega-allergicky bonanza-time, and other occasional bouts of irritability through the year:

  • CLEANSER (face & body): oil (a basic bland one: mineral, sunflower) or emollient cream
    Cleansing with water once a day maximum, and very little water and minimum skin-water contact: standing over a sink or shallow-filled bath, rather than hosing myself down in the shower. If my skin’s very unhappy, I’ll only clean skin with water every other day (and only once then), otherwise cleaning myself water-free.
  • TONER: cool-to-tepid tap water (my local water is lovely, soft, off glaciers, and well-treated); if I’m away somewhere with lousy hard water, I’ll resort to bottled mineral water
  • MOISTURISER (face & body): oil or emollient cream; heavy waxy stuff on lips and around eyes
  • SUNSCREEN: Vanicream SPF 60 (ZnO + TiO₂)
  • HAIR: Free & Clear shampoo and conditioner, washing only every 4 days, and putting hair up in between (plaits/braids, messy bun, etc.). When my skin’s been very troublesome and I’m on minimum-water-contact, I’ve been known to get someone else to wash my hair for me, with my head tipped back over a sink or tub (like in hospital or at a hair salon).
  • DEODORANT & SCENT: zinc oxide cream: baby butt paste, a.k. diaper- / nappy-rash cream

General approach and technique to dealing with dry skin: layering. Reasons for why:

  1. Just as with separate shampoo + conditioner or separate moisturiser + sunscreen: better functionality for both purposes than a 2-in-1; in my experience, 2-in-1s are never “the one product that does it all” but tend to be at best 1/2-and-1/2.
  2. Parallel with clothing: there’s greater flexibilty in having a wardrobe of garments of different weights, warmths, etc. and layering them. Allows you the freedom to adapt to circumstances: some areas being drier than others, variations from day to day, changes in weather and seasons, etc.
  3. Dry dehydrated skin: what seems to work best is sandwiching a layer of water under a layer of oil, and if need be repeating in double-deckers, triple-deckers, etc.

On days when the weather is colder, drier, and/or windier:

  • FACE & EYES: add a layer of shea butter or other heavy waxy stuff as required
    • application: small dab, rubbed and warmed-up between fingertips,  dotted onto drier (and thinner-skinned, more delicate) areas such as forehead, cheekbones, bridge of nose, and around the eyes, and smoothed in.
      If you see my forehead in real life, you’ll laugh at my calling it “delicate” in reference to anything other than skin. Flattering people have referred to it as “aristocratically Renaissance” or further physiological evidence of pre-Raphaelitism. Yes, it’s a five finger forehead: and what would be more appropriate for me than being a five-finger-er? If I were a guy, I’d be a slaphead egghead…

When skin is drier, which might or might not coincide with whatever’s going on with the weather: using one or other or some combination of the following assorted stuff in the emergency tool-kit. All over or localised dry patches. They’re listed in approximate order of increasing seriousness:


  • Chagrin Valley Whipped Squalane Mousse
    = shea olein + olive squalane + olive butter + jojoba oil; see ersatz (3): moisturiser
    Alas, it’s no longer unscented.
  • some other moisturisers I’ve used and abused here: assorted emollient / barrier-repair creams, such as: Avène Tolérance extrême cream, A-Derma Skin Care Cream, (note: these two are not fully cruelty-free any more), CeraVe creamVanicream, Vitec (same MF), Elave cream, Allergenics cream and assorted other UK and European ones not available here in Canada, at least not in actual real live shops here (Barefoot Botanicals, Faith in Nature, Green People, Lavera Neutral range, Urtekram, etc.), Ayelet night cream (Etsy), several Derma E creams, Dr.Hauschka rose day cream & eye contour balm (yes, scented; yes, weirdly, they work on my skin), ShiKai borage dry skin therapy lotion or hand cream (yes, all over, face and eyes too), Weleda Soothing Almond cream, Weleda‘s baby Calendula moisturisers, their Weather Everything cream/balm, and their Calendula Ointment.
  • under moisturiser, or mixed in with it: the DIY multi-purpose skin oil or some heavier oils (more further down…)
  • or argan oil (Mountain Rose Herbs, but brand doesn’t matter–exact same stuff).
    On why it is NOT worth spending lots of money on Josie Maran and suchlike (OK, unless suffering from the matchy-matchy variant of OCD), because argan oil = argan oil = argan oil: see review (2011-08-12) and update (2011-08-27).
  • LIPS & EYE-AREA: heavy-duty balm, including some lip balms
    • plain refined shea butter
      Many/most prefer raw unrefined shea, but my skin doesn’t so far. Irritated by octyl methoxycinnamate and (many, but not all and not in all concentrations) other cinnam- chemical relatives, inc. cinnamic acid in unrefined shea butter
    • DIY multi-purpose balm
      = plain refined shea butter (NOW; refined without hexanes, FWIW) + extra-virgin olive oil beeswax (both = Badger unscented balm), melted together in a bain-marie. Many/most prefer raw unrefined shea, but my skin doesn’t so far. Irritated by octyl methoxycinnamate and (many, but not all and not in all concentrations) other cinnam- chemical relatives, inc. cinnamic acid in unrefined shea butter
    • Badger balm, unscented version in the tin
      = extra-virgin olive oil beeswax
    • Dr Bronner’s Magic All-One Balm, unscented “naked” version, tin (cheaper & easier to use than the stick; stick is easy to carry around)
      = jojoba oil + beeswax + avocado oil + hemp seed oil + tocopherol 
    • Madre Bees unscented organic lip balm
      extra-virgin olive oil beeswax + hemp seed oil + vitamin E
    • (eye area) Weleda calendula ointment + (lips) Weleda Everon lip balm


  • soak pads (cotton-wool, reusable cotton pads, a small towel, or similar) with cool liquid: water or witch-hazel hydrosol. Or use two old teabags (black or green tea; or indeed certain others such as rosehip or chamomile), soaked in cold water, one over each eye. Hold over closed eyes for a while. Relax.
  • apply raw honey to scaly bits: I’ve used manuka honey with a UMF of 10-15 for this (higher is probably best reserved for more serious medical use), and also local raw unpasteurised etc. honey. Sometimes mixed with a dab of neem oil. Yes, neem smells totally rank: but it’s good stuff.
  • redo the cool compresses thing (first step above); if very dry and scaly, thin slices of beeswax /straight honeycomb can help.


Additional or changing moisturiser, used as needed: on hands, feet, and any dry patches; in ascending order of severity and seriousness, this is the arsenal:

  • hands, nails, cuticles: Prevex Protectant Cream
    = petrolatum + dimethicone
  • if being flaky and eczematic: borage seed oil (the edible capsule form: take one, cut it open, apply oil): either used alone or added to the usual multi-purpose oil, as circumstances demand…
  • add in hemp seed oil to the oil mix (other oils used too, previously; borage and hemp are the current “emergency” oils living in the fridge)
  • an emollient cream
  • Aquaphor on hands and cuticles: doing that at the moment, usually just evenings, as my hands are In A State
  • a heavy waxy balm: ex. shea butter, BalmBalm, Jason 25,000 IU vitamin E cream (great on elbows, knees, feet; warning–not face!), Badger unscented balm
  • olive oil rub and soak (hands, feet)
  • armpits: layer of zinc oxide baby butt paste


  • CLEANSER (all over): substitute an emollient cream
  • MOISTURISER: substitute heavier-duty unscented minimalist emollient cream/balm a.k.a. barrier-repair cream


  • substitute hemp (the food/edible one, in refrigerated section of shops, keep refrigerated at home) or avocado or borage seed oil (the edible capsule form: take one, cut it open, apply oil) for the multi-purpose oil; adding a layer under moisturising cream.
  • on top: substitute an emollient cream for usual moisturiser
  • neem oil (any brand: currently using Alaffia): great on all manner of small sore bits & bites, zits, irritation, etc. Stinky though. Apply only a tiny amount, and directly to the affected area.


  • upgrade moisturiser to plain shea butter or other really seriously hard-core heavy waxy stuff
  • more layering. Spray/slap on an extra layer of water on top of moisturiser, then seal it in with shea butter or other heavy-duty waxy stuff. Yes, I have been known to use Aquaphor or plain petrolatum, any brand. The stuff is damn good on sealing seriously flaky skin. I’ll avoid it in favour of a sustainably-produced plant-based alternative when possible, but not all things are possible at all times and in all circumstances. I’ll avoid Vaseline for Unilever reasons, unless it’s the only thing going and a life/death situation for skin.

See also: in case of emergency.



Using one with protein and oily goodness. The John Masters Organics Bare conditioner has a fair amount of both, as do Aubrey Organics GPB conditioner and Beauty Without Cruelty moisturising conditioner. I’ll also leave them on for longer than I usually do with conditioner. And/or use the BWC leave-in conditioner, left on.


Apple cider vinegar rinse: diluted 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water, in an old “sports top” plastic water-bottle (any squeezy bottle will do). Using any brand of vinegar, whatever we’ve got currently in the kitchen.

My use of this is limited by my skin’s tolerance-levels: even diluted:

  • semi-DIY clarifying shampoo: mixed in palm of hand with regular shampoo, on my second shampoo, then applied to hair from there
  • final rinse after conditioning: the vinegar supplements the cuticle-flattening powers of cold water; smoothed hair cuticle = less tangly + reflects light = shiny

Sometimes I blow-dry my hair properly, for extra smoothness and shininess:

  • The Body Shop Brazil Nut Define & No Frizz + vented brush + an eco-friendly hair-dryer (it’s green and white, made from recycled materials, recyclable, and low-energy).
    Leaving hair to its own devices until nearly dry, and not combing or brushing through afterwards, as that is one of my paths to guaranteed frizz.
    Note: works for a limited time, my current record is about 3 hours, before hair starts to revert to type. Better solution = pro job from hairdresser, lasts a day or two. Another option might be straightening irons but I’m against and will not use (reasons: not that good for hair, a probably irrational fear of burning (if someone else is doing it, anyway: if klutzy me, then perfectly rational), energy consumption, limits to the reasonableness of vanity & folly-praising, and anti-racist & feminist discomfort about not embracing and celebrating non-straight hair).


A sort of variation on the condition-wash-condition thing; seems to help hair dryness and frizzliness. Has more effect—hair not drying out so much between washes—than applying oil at the conditioning stage, either before conditioner or mixed in with it.


  • DIY hair oil
    • current product: the same multi-purpose oils that I’m using on skin
    • the hair oil has been known, over the years, to be a separate entity from the multi-purpose oil (which is then technically just skin oil, really, and not all that multi-purpose) and to contain varying combinations and proportions of the following oils, being ones that are supposed to actually do something to hair all the way to the core: argan – avocado – jojoba – meadowfoam seed – olive
      —coconut does that too: tried it, but it was way too heavy for my hair + some breakouts on neck.
      —any brand: usually something cheaper and decent like NOW, Garden of Wisdom, Mountain Rose Herbs, etc.; for avocado or olive, a food/cooking one
    • decanted into a plastic bottle, with a plastic flip-top or pump top, living in the shower
    • application: wet hair with warm water and oil it up pretty much everywhere except the scalp (unless it’s dry: then it gets oiled too). Coil up hair and secure. Leave it be for 15-30 minutes (meanwhile: breakfast + cup of tea). Wash and condition as usual.


  • leave oil on for longer, for at least an hour or so. Usually at the weekend.
  • if scalp is dry: oil rub, often with borage & meadowfoam seed oil
  • if hair is feeling dry after it’s been washed and has dried: a drop of meadowfoam, avocado, or argan oil on ends and any frizzy bits.


  • olive oil as a pre-wash treatment, rather than the usual DIY hair oil; very occasionally warmed up slightly as a hot oil treatment (errrm, around about twice a year max); left on for longer than usual.
  • avocado oil, as above
  • whether or not hair’s being dry, sometimes I’m being really scuzzy and/or simply don’t have time to wash and dry my hair. I’ll get another day out of the hair by doing a dry shampoo. Done this previously with actual dry shampoo; and with various fine-grain baby/dusting powders. Silk powder is a very good one for this purpose. Brush hair–apply to roots and scalp, basically the greasy bits–leave on for 5-10 minutes–brush out


Depending on dryness and ambient humidity or lack thereof:

  • John Masters Organics Shine On leave-in treatment
  • oil: usually the DIY one is fine, I also like avocado or hemp seed if my skin and hair are being very dry and skin’s in flaky (or indeed fully eczematic) mode
  • leave-in conditioner such as Beauty Without Cruelty or John Masters Organics
  • a moisturising skin cream, such as Allergenics emollient cream
  • balm, such as the DIY one
  • a silicone-y serum, if it’s very humid; my hair gets weighed down by these horribly, and I am prone to irritation on the neck and other surrounding skin, so this is a last resort. A compromise is to use a skin-moisturiser containing silicone


In case of skin emergency:

  • and no other makeup
  • no, nothing at all. Nothing! Nada!
  • (I tend not to have the energy, will have mind/attention on other things, and may well be asleep especially if doped up on whatever is being used to combat whatever the affliction might happen to be)
  • in an ideal world: if I were very very very ill indeed, some kind soul would come in to hospital and tint my eyelashes for me, and maybe pop on a teeny hint of lipstick & blusher, and help me look/feel more human and less like a lump of health-service-property meat 🙂

and yes we CAN… wear pink


DEFCON 3 status. All-out conventional war.*

Sometimes I wear more makeup. Very rarely. The most recent occasions have been weddings, job interviews, and other situations which involved Meeting The Public (and/or other Strangers) and having to look more “groomed” than usual. Don’t ask; I disapprove, but Toed The Line out of politeness for hosts and occasion, to protect others from the embarrassment of being scared by pallor. Though it is nice when other people are nicer to you because they think you’re ill; then again, probably won’t nail you the job if prospective employers think you’re fragile, potentially problematic, consumptive, etc.


  • same as Levels One or Two


  • same as Level Two
  • or Silk Naturals in Amethyst
  • or Stila Smudge Pot in Bronze: cream-gel, similar texture to Bobbi Brown and suchlike, slight glimmer to it, applied like my level 2 Silk Naturals one with a small brush
  • or Nvey Eco solid (cake) eyeliner in brown: I thought for a while this was too dark on me, but it’s fine behind glasses, is impressively budge-proof, and is fine even on very teary allergic days. I’ve worn this when out partying of an evening, i.e. circumstances where I have every excuse for not taking my makeup off before bed. You know, as opposed to plain old everyday laziness. Which is just me being a bad person.
    • mixed to a paste with water
    • applied using a short-handled brush


  • same as Level Three


  • FACE Atelier foundation 50/50 mix of #1 (Porcelain) and #0- (white). I bought one of each (#1 & #0-) of the PRO smaller plastic pump-top bottles, mixed them in another container, then rebottled them
    • I loathe and despise foundation, but sometimes there’s these weird social obligations to use the damn stuff. This is about the best one I’ve found. Dead easy to apply, doesn’t feel or look like you’re wearing foundation, the difference between avec and sans is only noticeable in photos, really. Though Silk Naturals Perfecting Powder is perfectly adequate for most photographic purposes, and it’s not as though I got around being photographed all the time and/or being in a state of constant neurotic obsessive panic about it. (You’ll also remember that I’m lazy.) My previous favourite was the Silk Naturals. But it’s too dry on me now as a foundation. OK as concealer though. That is: Silk Naturals powder foundation, Original Coverage Ivory Starter Kit in Ebony. Blend: 2 scoops Ebony : 25+ scoops Ivory (I stopped counting around scoop 25, so, most of the rest of the bag).


  • same as foundation above, just applied slightly differently
    • applied using an EcoTools mini short-handled eyeshadow brush, sold in multi-pack and very fine indeed.


  • Silk Naturals in Petal (loose powder)
    • applied using old Clinique mini blusher brush
  • or Silk Naturals Cream Blush in Tickle
    • applied to back of hand, and from there using finger-tips


  • um, well, about once in a blue moon I’ll use something neutral but vaguely sparkly, from a bag of assorted Silk Naturals ones. Things like Purr, their Stila-Kitten-alike


  • Lipstick Queen Invisible Lip Liner and their Saint Rouge

CONSEQUENT CHANGE OF EVENING CLEANSER: instead of usual cleanser, substituting one of The Things That Live Under The Bathroom Sink. Next to bathroom cleaners and other regular undersink-dwellers, so care must be taken not to get mixed up. If tired or other reason for being uncoordinated, I’ll avoid them all so as to avoid accidents, swipe some witch-hazel around, and go to bed:

  • a creamy cleanser
  • or a cleansing oil (Garden of Wisdom or Silk Naturals)

This lot (with the exception of the Levels One & Two stuff) lives in the Level Three Makeup Box; deep in an Infrequent Use drawer, behind an old dismantled lamp, some old linens (used for mopping up spillages, for under wet rain-boots, etc.), and a couple of old spare raincoats used for visitors coming here ill-prepared from drier climes; and that drawer is in a clunky piece of furniture behind the rack for air-drying laundry. The box: reusing a usefully-shaped old one; I left on one label and added another, together summing up my views on fecking & blinding makeup–hmmm, and maybe literally not just figuratively in both cases–and its social obligations:

Other stuff known to be living in that box; there may be more in the lower depths:

  • unscented dusting powder for a layer 3 to the deodowich, as needed: if exercise, hot sweaty weather, or wearing a Summer Frock: to ease the chafing of the inner thighs (my thighs aren’t dramatically thunderous, but I’m prone to sweat-rashes and a lady civilised socialised human being shouldn’t really scratch itches in public): arrowroot powder, rice powder, silk powder, assorted baby powders
  • Dr. Hauschka silk dusting powder stuff, for use as body powder (see above) and as dry shampoo
  • Sephora twist-up eyeliner in brown
  • Silk Naturals cream eyeliner in Amethyst (purple)
  • Silk Naturals lipsticks: Aria (MLBB pink, but there’s something not quite right about this shade on me right now: seems dulling), Soft (pink), Raindrops on Roses (pinkish red, halfway to Bitten: it may be promoted into the Level 2 makeup bag soon), Sweet Nothing (plum, tricky to use unless with a very light touch, otherwise you get late ’80s raisin); plus a handful that didn’t work out and that I haven’t yet swabbed with alcohol to clean them before donating them to the local women’s shelter
  • two old blushers, for colour-comparison purposes: Clinique Iced Lotus and Korres 16 Pink
  • archaic Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, their cream-gel eyeliner in Black Honey, Maybelline eyeliner in Eggplant/Aubergine: being kept for colout-matching/-replicating
  • old mascaras, kept for brush-comparison purposes: Clinique Long Pretty Lashes, Clinique Lash Power, Maybelline Lash Discovery, Origins Fringe Benefits, Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined, Urban Decay Cannonball WP, Fresh Supernova, Lavera, Beauty Without Cruelty
  • samples/minis of various things that I haven’t yet thrown out: Bobbi Brown tinted eye brightener in Light Bisque (keeping for shade-matching purposes)
  • ever-expanding sack of free Silk Naturals eye shadows and other colour cosmetic glittery gaudy delights: no use to me, unsure whether I’m keeping them for posterity or for a bling-loving younger relation or for adding to swaps *shrug*
  • assorted brushes and old sponges in a ziplock bag, out of sight out of mind (cleaned properly first)

SOME OF THAT STUFF IS GOING IN THE BIN and has been struck through: reference staying, so that you can read through/under the line, for colour-reference purposes for myself and others. It’s a symbolic strike-through.

Reason: Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Origins: see posts on here from around 2012-02-17. Korres: subsequently (subsequent to my buying that blusher) bought by J&J corp, so I’m not rebuying from them while they’re under their current controllers.

Yes, most of this really ought to go in the bin sometime soon anyway. The powdery stuff won’t go off, and should keep OK in the dark; other items will (or have) go(ne) off, and some colours may havw degraded. Probably no fungi, as-yet unmet household pets, or Lurkers in the Deeps. I’ve now given away all my old nail-varnish; I wore it so seldom that it hardly seemed worthwhile, and they were useful colours (Revlon neutrals and their gorgeous blue-red Cherries in the Snow). I mainly wanted rid of the stuff for hippy environmentalist reasons; from manufacture and formulae—yes, even Big 3 Free ones like I’d been using for aaages—to effects on nails and skin, and the cotton-wool pads and solvents used to remove the stuff. Good riddance. Need nails to look polished? Just buffing them then rubbing in heavy-duty balm.

*There is a DEFCON 1 status, but it’s only ever appeared very rarely, not for a long time, and only ever applied by other people from their own kit. In very unconventional carnivalesque situations requiring drag-like extreme disguise, war-paint for going into battle, and often masks and other incognito devices suitable for engaging in debauchery.

Also rarely used due to the PITA of getting all the crap [and crud] off the next day/day after that/some point afterwards and consequent skin irritation and general grumpiness of coming back down from such outrageous raging–errm, well, circumstances.

Furthermore: older, wiser, learned years ago that DEFCON 1 is all most unnecessary for its intended purposes anyway. Gingers of the world: we’ve already got plenty weapons of mass destruction at our disposal–if that’s the game being played–even at DEFCON 5. “Nod nod, wink wink, say no more.”

Image at top: Wikipedia article on gingerol

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